Description - The Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park recalls the role of canals in transporting raw materials and manufactured goods between emerging industrial centers. Walk along restored sections of the Blackstone River Canal and Towpath from the River Bend Farm Visitors Center.
This park is operated in conjunction with the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor which extends from Worcester to Providence, Rhode Island.
Inspired by the success of the Erie Canal (begun in 1817) and spurred by the expansion of textile manufacturing along the Blackstone River in the early 19th century, the Blackstone Canal was built to link Central Massachusetts to the Atlantic via Providence, RI. Between 1828 and 1848, segments of the river were paralleled by the canal on which horse-drawn boats carried freight and passengers between Worcester and Providence. Initially highly successful, the canal was made obsolete by the completion of the railroad in 1847. Most of the canal structures are now gone, but the remains of lock chambers, dams, bridges, workers' housing, and a company store serve to remind us of the rich industrial history of the Blackstone River Valley.
- Straddling the town line between Uxbridge and Northbridge is a 1000 acre natural area offering walking and hiking paths, canoe access, picnic areas and a broad expanse of the Blackstone River known as Rice City Pond, which is a great area for watching wildlife.
Recreation - Visitors of Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park can enjoy; canoeing, hiking, hunting, mountain biking, picnicking, walking and cross-country skiing. This park also has a visitor's center, historic site and scenic viewing area.
Climate - Massachusetts experiences four distinct seasons with slightly varying temperatures in the inland and coastal regions. Along the coast the water is a moderating factor that often prevents large amounts of snowfall from accumulating through the winter. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than low lying inland areas, due to ocean breezes. This region of the country experiences high humidity in the summer season and temperatures that average close to 80 degrees F. Fall and Spring are pleasant times to visit the region with crisp air and low humidity. Brilliant foliage colors can be found in the central and western regions of the state in late September and October. Winter temperatures can be brutally cold on occasion with a humidity-filled wind, but on average winter daytime temperatures reach 35 degrees F and lows reach into the teens. Spring is usually the wettest time of year, but trees, bushes and flowers are blooming by early May.
The park is located off of Rte 122 in south central Massachusetts.
From the East/West/Boston/Southeast:
* Take Mass Pike (Rte. I-90) to exit #10A in Millbury, Rte 146 South.
* Take Rte 146 S & follow for 12 miles to exit # 3, Route 16.
* Turn left onto Rte 16 East and follow for 2 miles to the traffic lights.
* Turn left onto Route 122 North and follow for 1-1/4 mile and then turn right at traffic light onto Hartford Ave.
* In 1 mile, turn right onto Oak Street at the UMass Tri-River Family Health Center.
* Visitor Center is 1/10 mile on the left in the red barn.